Mashups for fun or more

By July 10, 2007

Mashups can help Internet users plan a trip, find a house or learn about the link between political donations and votes. With summer finally here, Yahoo’s Trip planner is the high-tech way to prepare a vacation. Plug in a destinat

ion and dates: this mashup application will pull in maps, hotels and restaurants, suggested activities in the visited cities as well as the itineraries of other users for inspiration. It brings all the needed tools in one central location from the planning to the sharing of the trip with friends. Yahoo Trip Planner Lending Craigslist a visual component it lacks, MapsKrieg mashes up the real estate ads from Craigslist with maps that let you chose a location and click on the description. Craigslist has inspired several mashup creators with sites like Listpic which emphasizes photos in the listings and HousingMaps which also organizes real estate ads on a map. MapsKrieg Here is something a little different for the Star Wars fans out there. In time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first movie, Lucasfilm is letting enthusiasts edit and remix scenes using 250 clips as their palette. It is all on the Web site. This is a smart way for Lucasfilm to bring fans to its site and let them have some creative fun. In a similar way, Eyespot is a video mixing Web site where music fans can create videos using legally-available materials. Giving back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, it should be noted that mashups came from the world of pop music. DJs have long mixed songs together to create their own new version. Let’s get serious again. Mashups have become a way to track campaign and special-interest money, giving voters a way to keep track of elected officials. The site “brings together campaign contributions and how legislators vote, providing an unprecedented window into the connections between money and politics.”. The site covers the California Legislature and U.S. Congress. Its database combines three sets of data: bill texts and legislative voting records, supporting and opposing interests for each bill and campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics. By bringing this information together, the site “illuminates” the connection between money and politics. At GeoCommons, you can create your own intelligent maps calling upon a geodata repository with over 2 billion location attributes, 35,000 variables & 1,500 data sets. For example, it is possible to answer questions such as “What is the university town which has the lowest crime rate?”, “Where is the hippest neighborhood in San Francisco?” or “Has there been a meth lab bust in my area?” This site can also help businesses answer geo-related questions. On GeoCommons, users are encouraged to share their own data sets as well as to create new maps and to embed them on their own site. For the mashup enthusiast with no programming skills, Microsoft came up with Popfly, a tool to build and share mashups, gadgets and applications which is currently in beta. Google already has its Google Maps mashup builder and Yahoo offers Yahoo Pipes which focuses on combining RSS feeds. Looking for more? The site ProgrammableWeb lists nearly 2,000 mashups geared to fishermen, bicyclists, Italian food lovers or beers enthusiasts. Isabelle Boucq for Atelier   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at

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